For Singaporean investors, there’s no place like Cambodia

August 10, 2016 | Property Report

Cambodia has become the fulcrum of attention for Singaporeans in a broad spectrum of sectors, ranging from manufacturing and agriculture to real estate, The Phnom Penh Post reports.

Cambodia’s relatively loose regulations on foreign shareholding (100 percent foreign ownership of companies) and brisk clip of economic growth (more than 7 percent per annum for most of the last decade) have attracted Singapore to become the third largest investor in the Khmer Kingdom next only to China and the UK, according to The Council for the Development of Cambodia.

To many Lion State investors, especially property firms, the chance to start from a clean slate in such a country as Cambodia is manifest. “We’re bringing in concepts from Singapore that are new here and transforming (the urban landscape),” Jackie Eng, CEO of diversified real estate company SC Capital, told The Phnom Penh Post. “We have an opportunity here in Cambodia to do what we can’t do in Singapore.”

Singapore’s Oxley Holdings has two residential projects in Cambodia, the Bridge and the Peak. Huttons Real Estate Group also opened in Phnom Penh last year.

Tan Soon Kim, assistant chief executive of government agency International Enterprise Singapore, said that the non-existent caps on foreign shareholding in Cambodia is a rare draw in the Southeast Asian region. “This gives foreign investors greater flexibility in their mode of entry (and) is one aspect that we have highlighted when promoting Cambodia to Singaporean investors,” he said.

Singapore Business Federation CEO Ho Meng Kit also commends Cambodia’s uniquely open foreign investment regime. “The liberal FDI policies in Cambodia, together with competitive labour costs, compensate to a large extent for the small size of the market and poor infrastructure,” he said.

Singaporean businesses would also find added incentive in the recently signed Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) between Cambodia and Singapore, which minimises double taxation of income flows from cross-border investments.